At some point in your career, you’re going to want to pursue a training opportunity. It’s undeniable, and frankly, you’d be foolish not to. The trick, of course, is figuring out how to ask your manager to let you pursue training and possibly even getting the company to pay for it. There are plenty of articles and blogs with suggestions of what to say and do to ensure your manager approves your request, but this article is more about what not to do if you want to have your training request approved.
Forget To Do Your Homework
The first rule of success is preparation. Pay attention to general company trends or attitudes toward training. Have other people been granted the opportunity to take courses or pursue IT certifications on company time or have the company foot the bill? Make sure what you’re asking for directly correlates to your department or company’s vision. When you make your case to your manager, it’s important to show that what you’re asking for is timely or relevant, but if you don’t prepare by understanding what the course you’re asking for actually accomplishes or how it can shore up a knowledge gap in your team’s abilities, you’re wasting your time. Prepare to have a conversation with your manager based on mood, timing, your ability to answer their questions, and how you can juggle your preexisting responsibilities as well as the requirements of a company-funded course.
Making It About You
You’re the person who will sit for the course or exam, so why shouldn’t you make it about you? Seems counterintuitive, right? Not quite. Although your skills will no doubt improve, what you and your manager know deep down is that these newfound skills also make you more marketable to other companies. Instead of selling this training course as improving your skills, reframe it in terms of the value proposition for the company. Emphasize what you’ll be bringing back to enhance your ability to be more efficient, knowledgeable, or a company thought leader. Driving home the new value you’re bringing to the company means they’re more likely to pay for it, too.
Expect A Yes
If your company has been extremely profitable, it’s easy to assume there’s cash on hand for training. One of the worst things you can do is assume your manager will approve a training request. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment if your request is denied by assuming it’s a sure thing. If your manager says no, take it in stride, thank them for the consideration, and let them know you’ll ask about other opportunities in the future if it’s a better fit for time and resources. If you express gratitude for the consideration, you leave on a high note, make a good impression, and possibly set yourself up for a better opportunity down the road.
Bring Nothing Back
Have you ever had a friend or colleague go on vacation and bring you back a souvenir? It doesn’t matter if it’s the ugliest magnet you’ve ever seen or a tacky t-shirt, the thrill of receiving a gift never fades. The same is true of training. When you discuss the possible courses on your radar with your manager, be sure to emphasize what you’ll be bringing back to the team. Will you write up key points? Offer to mentor others who want to pursue this subject area or lead some type of “lunch and learn” presentation? Whatever it is, don’t overlook the brownie points you’ll earn by sharing your new knowledge with your peers and letting your manager know you’re eager to be a team player even if you pursue individual training.
Fail To Follow Through
My grandfather used to tell us, “Once you commit, go.” It didn’t matter if it was changing lanes on the interstate or agreeing to help someone out. When you say you’re going to do something, you need to follow through. The same is true of training. One of the absolute worst things you could do to sabotage your future ability to take a training course is to bail on it when it’s finally approved. Obviously some scenarios are acceptable, but generally speaking, once you commit to a course, finish strong. The worst thing your manager wants to see is you flake on something the company invested in. Even if life is throwing you curveballs and you’re taking on a lot, put on a happy face, show up for this amazing opportunity, and make the most of it! It’ll help you get to the next phase of your career either at your current company or your next.
Ready to select your next great course? Check out the Skyline ATS IT course catalog and get ready to ask your manager to let you enroll.